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Author Topic: the unexplained...real stuff!
DonnyBGood
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posted 08 April 2008 04:53 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

a quiz on the queer and unusual...

in the conventional sense of the word...

[ 08 April 2008: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 08 April 2008 09:35 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 10 April 2008 02:12 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I got most of the second round questions. Obviously it mostly focuses on British 'paranormal' mysteries and I'm more familiar with the American ones.

I've never heard Uri Gellar claim that his 'powers' were given to him by aliens. I don't think he claims that any more.


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Proaxiom
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posted 10 April 2008 06:05 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good Youtube link, for those who haven't seen it already:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9w7jHYriFo

It's James Randi where he works with Johnny Carson to demonstrate how Uri Gellar is a fraud.

Also the exposure of Peter Popoff (who apparently is back defrauding people after laying low for a bit).


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DonnyBGood
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posted 10 April 2008 06:32 PM      Profile for DonnyBGood     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is a great bit. But think of it. Is there not an aspect of the occult in Marxian predictions? I mean this is the appeal of science in general...

But debunking things is also the appeal of science.

What is interesting about the thesis of this book is that these things are neither explained or debunked...

What is our expectation then?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 10 April 2008 07:48 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually James Randi does not expose Uri Gellar as a fraud. What he says in the video is that "this is how he could have bent spoons and the like", he does not say that that is what Gellar actually did or that he knows how Gellar did what he did.

I'd say that Randi actually uses almost as much slight as hand in 'exposing' Gellar as he claims Gellar uses. I say 'almost' because he does admit that he doesn't know if those are the methods that Gellar actually uses but he is certainly smart enough to know that is the impression that most people will be left with.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 10 April 2008 08:34 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Um, it's Geller, people.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 03:03 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Adam, the more interesting bit is where Randi put Geller in a position where he was asked to perform some of his common tricks without the benefit of prepared props. Geller suddenly became very awkward, and started making excuses.
From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 April 2008 03:12 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Randi's a quack as far as I know. What are his qualifications?
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 03:22 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Funny, he asked me the same thing about you the other day.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 April 2008 03:38 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The difference is, I'm not making any scientific claims here. Randi's a quack.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 03:59 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have they started naming asteroids after quacks? Who knew?
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 04:07 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Uri GellEr claims his abilities were affected by the negativity of Randi and Carson. I know that sounds like a copout, but I've also read of other cases where people have claimed to bend spoons that were clearly not prepared in advance.

Here is one story: http://www.mind-energy.net/archives/203-Spoon-bending-boy-in-1976.html

That story is also a bit dodgy, but it leads to the mentioning of Dr. Claude Swanson. Dr Swanson is a physicist who wrote a book called The Synchronized Universe. I had that book for a bit before giving it away as a birthday present (which is what I bought it for) and in a chapter I read, he said he went to a spoon bending party. I highly doubt all the people at that party had prepared their spoons in advance in order to 'show off'.

The point of all this being that if Uri GellEr was the only person capable of bending spoons, you could put it down to a magic trick, but when hundreds of people with no training in magic or trickery are also said to have the same ability, that does suggest to me anyway that there are mental capabilities that are not explained away by James Randi.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 04:10 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Randi is not a quack but he is clearly a very angry person and he is a 'skeptic'. That is, he says 'none of these things are possible' without looking at the actual evidence presented. A genuine skeptic has an open mind on all claims presented. Of course, an open mind is not an empty head, but dismissing everything out of hand is a closed mind.
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Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 04:11 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Qualifications for what, Fidel? To call 'psychics' and 'mentalists' frauds?

I suppose, as far as I know, he doesn't have a PhD in Straightforward Thinking.

He has a million dollars, though, that was donated to him. If anyone can demonstrate in a fair experiment any sort of paranormal ability, the million is theirs.

The prize has stood unclaimed for almost 12 years.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 04:13 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
The point of all this being that if Uri GellEr was the only person capable of bending spoons, you could put it down to a magic trick, but when hundreds of people with no training in magic or trickery are also said to have the same ability, that does suggest to me anyway that there are mental capabilities that are not explained away by James Randi.
I know of hundreds of people who are able to pull rabbits out of empty top hats and real coins out of people's ears.

Coincidence? I think not.

quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
That is, he says 'none of these things are possible' without looking at the actual evidence presented.
You clearly know nothing about the man or his activities.

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 11 April 2008 04:15 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Theoretical cosmologist and leading science blogger Sean Carroll discussed telekinesis Telekinesis and Quantum Field Theory

quote:
Again: imagine you have invented a new kind of particle relevant to the dynamics of spoons. Tell me its mass, and its interactions with ordinary matter. If it’s too heavy or interacts too weakly, it can’t be created or captured. If it is sufficiently light and strongly interacting, it will have been created and captured many times over in experiments we have already done. There is no middle ground. We completely understand the regime of spoons, notwithstanding what you heard in The Matrix.

There were 140 posts of interesting responses.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 04:21 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I know that sounds like a copout, but I've also read of other cases where people have claimed to bend spoons that were clearly not prepared in advance.

Well, then. James Randi has a million dollars for the first person to step up and prove they can do it. If it happens that spoon-benders have no interest in material possessions, they can still donate the million to their favourite charitable cause.

Adam, it's all nonsense. ESP, mentalism, telekinesis, communication with the dead, etc. Anything labeled paranormal is fiction.

If it was real, then someone, somewhere would have scientifically documented it by now. There is absolutely no reason that such a phenomenon couldn't be studied and understood, it it existed. Wouldn't every chemist, biologist, and physicist in the world want to understand a strange relationship that exists between a human brain the molecular bonds within steel? Surely there would be an opportunity to build technological innovation on the discoveries that would entail.

Sadly, they don't exist. Those practitioners rely on human biases, misperceptions, and credulity, and avoid like the plague anything like controlled experiments. When they do submit to them, they are left making excuses like "it doesn't work if someone tries to study it."

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: Proaxiom ]


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 04:23 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hugh Laurie bends spoons
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 04:24 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I know of hundreds of people who are able to pull rabbits out of empty top hats and real coins out of people's ears.
Coincidence? I think not.

Yes, I said the people there were not magicians and did not have training in magic. Can you read?

quote:

You clearly know nothing about the man or his activities.

I've seen him on a number of programs, I think I know of him very well. He is an angry man who has done some very good work exposing frauds, the Peter Popoff case is probably his best work, but he goes too far lumping all claims of paranormal ability in as fakery. Again, that is not real skepticism it is cynicism and close mindendness.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 04:26 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Hugh Laurie bends spoons

But Hugh Laurie does do real magic. British accent, American accent. British accent. American accent. It's impossible!


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 11 April 2008 04:33 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:

I've seen him on a number of programs, I think I know of him very well. He is an angry man who has done some very good work exposing frauds, the Peter Popoff case is probably his best work, but he goes too far lumping all claims of paranormal ability in as fakery. Again, that is not real skepticism it is cynicism and close mindendness.


There's a reason for being closed-minded to magic.

You should read the blog column by sean carroll above.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 04:33 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Well, then. James Randi has a million dollars for the first person to step up and prove they can do it. If it happens that spoon-benders have no interest in material possessions, they can still donate the million to their favourite charitable cause.

James Randi's 'prize' is highly rigged. It is clearly nothing but a P.R talking point for him to be used the way you just used it.


quote:

If it was real, then someone, somewhere would have scientifically documented it by now. There is absolutely no reason that such a phenomenon couldn't be studied and understood, it it existed.

Yes, and I mentioned one expert above who did study it, Dr. Claude Swanson, who holds a P.H.D in physics. His book on the subject is called The Synchronized Universe. It details thousands of scientific studes and mentions several published journal articles.

The most famous researcher in the area of this type of research is Dr Dean Radin who has a masters in electrical engineering and a doctorate in pshychology (emphasis on research methods). He has written two books on the subject, tne better known being The Conscious Universe. It also details thousands of scientific studies and mentions several published journal articles.

To sum up the obvious response to your arguments: evidence of absense is not absense of evidence. And in reality, there actually is no absense of evidence.

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: Adam T ]


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 04:33 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:
But Hugh Laurie does do real magic. British accent, American accent. British accent. American accent. It's impossible!

Not really.

If you watch closely, you can see his lips move.

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 04:49 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
James Randi's 'prize' is highly rigged. It is clearly nothing but a P.R talking point for him to be used the way you just used it.

How so? It's all completely open. The experiment is designed by agreement, 'pass' results are agreed upon, and the process is recorded. The experiment is such that if the specific claim is true, the claimant will be able to achieve a pass and win the prize.

Have you seen anyone able to really find fault in the process? It is entirely based on the scientific method.

But it really is a PR talking point. That's because paranormal claims are all false. He knows very well that no one will ever be able to claim the million. (Kind of like when, after OJ was acquitted, Andy Rooney put up a million dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed Nicole Simpson... he knew it would never be claimed, and was just making a point.)


quote:
Yes, and I mentioned one expert above who did study it, Dr. Claude Swanson, who holds a P.H.D in physics. His book on the subject is called The Synchronized Universe. It details thousands of scientific studes and mentions several published journal articles.

And why do you think none of those researchers have achieved only marginally better acceptance in the scientific community than intelligent design or global warming denial, Adam?

quote:
To sum up the obvious response to your arguments: evidence of absense is not absense of evidence.

There is no evidence against the existence of Santa Claus.

We can speculate about anything we want without empirical data, and maybe occasionally we'll hit, by fluke, something that happens to be true. But we can't pretend something is true when there is no evidence of it being so. That's just self-delusion.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 11 April 2008 05:04 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:
There is no evidence against the existence of Santa Claus.
In fact, you can converse with him by email, at santaclaus(at)toothfairy.com

Go ahead, it works!


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 April 2008 05:10 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is a transcript of a BBC4 Radio show interview with Brian Josephson, a real scientist who says paranormal phenomenon may someday have a scientific exlanation. Oh, and someone named Randi makes an appearance by way of recorded message, the coward.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 08:33 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It frightens me to be on the same side as Fidel on this issue and he's actually sticking to the topic.

At least M Spector is against me.

On Randi's 'prize':

quote:
Have you seen anyone able to really find fault in the process? It is entirely based on the scientific method.

1.My understanding is that Randi gets to pick the judges, or at least has a veto over the judges. It's not a surprise that a denier on this issue is going to choose other deniers and they're going to say 'nothing paranormal occured' no matter what the result.

2.Dean Radin, who discusses this prize, actually disagrees that it does follow the scientific method, and his PHD is in research methods. According to him it's a one off result, you either get it right the first time or you lose. Of course, the scientific method is based on statistical probability, not a one off test. So if Radin is correct, then this 'prize' is indeed nothing but a sham.

quote:

And why do you think (sic) those researchers have achieved only marginally better acceptance in the scientific community than intelligent design or global warming denial, Adam?

I hate to engage in conspiracy theories, but my understanding, and it's been backed up by other discussions I've had with scientists as well as reading Radin and others, is that there really is a kind of scientific cabal over this, at least in the United States. Leading scientists got the research facilities and programs at places like Stamford and other major universities shut down. You would argue that it's because there was nothing there, I would argue based on Radin and the discussions I've had, including with you!, that it's based on a prejudice against psi research, the view that these things just can't be real no matter what any evidence says. I would point out that psi researchers claim that in Europe, Russia, India and China there is much more acceptance and openess among scientists to the possibiltiy that there are realities to 'paranmormal' events. Of course, India and the far east has long believed in 'psi' with Buddhism and the like, although not verified scientifically. The mental abilities of some Buddhists monks is some of the best evidence we have that there really may be something going on. At the very least I am aware that David Suzuki devoted a Nature of Things program to the evidence presented by psi researchers and Quirks and Quarks did a report on the amazing abilities of the monks.

The obvious question here is have you read any of the research summarized in books by Radin, Swanson, Rupert Sheldrake or others or have you read any of the research papers presented by the scientists in the field. And, if you haven't, how can you say that no evidence exists? I realize there are always time constraints, but you can't say that there is nothing to it if you haven't even read the research. You would just be another example of the closed mindendness that I've mentioned several times.


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Proaxiom
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posted 11 April 2008 09:28 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
1.My understanding is that Randi gets to pick the judges, or at least has a veto over the judges. It's not a surprise that a denier on this issue is going to choose other deniers and they're going to say 'nothing paranormal occured' no matter what the result.

There aren't typically judges, because they are not subjective tests. If you claim, for example, that you can identify cards from a deck without looking at them, then you just have someone shuffle and start picking out cards. You can be right or wrong about what's on them.

And you wouldn't have to get all of them right. It can qualify as a paranormal demonstration if you do well enough that it's statistically implausible for you to have been randomly guessing and getting lucky.

quote:
2.Dean Radin, who discusses this prize, actually disagrees that it does follow the scientific method, and his PHD is in research methods. According to him it's a one off result, you either get it right the first time or you lose. Of course, the scientific method is based on statistical probability, not a one off test. So if Radin is correct, then this 'prize' is indeed nothing but a sham.

The thing here is that the applicants are asked to design the test. Randi just has to agree that it does in fact validly test what it purports to test:

quote:
We will consult competent statisticians when an evaluation of the experimental design...

Link

The above is a link to the challenge contract, entered into when a claimant signs up. If the whole thing is in fact rigged, then the claimant should be able to successfully sue James Randi for breaching the contract. That hasn't happened yet either.


quote:
I would argue based on Radin and the discussions I've had, including with you!, that it's based on a prejudice against psi research, the view that these things just can't be real no matter what any evidence says.

I'm not much for conspiracy theories, either. Including this one. Conspiracy theories that must necessarily involve tens or even hundreds of thousands of people are pretty easy to dismiss.

Consider this also: If these paranormal claims are true, then we are wrong about a lot of the things we think about the natural world. You would think that correcting such a vast set of errors would provide a huge amount of useful knowledge, and enable a very large amount of new technology.

So where is it?


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 11 April 2008 10:00 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On the James Randi "challenge"
Here is a web page that summarizes the criticisms of how valid the 'challenge' is:
http://www.dailygrail.com/features/the-myth-of-james-randis-million-dollar-challenge

quote:
I'm not much for conspiracy theories, either. Including this one. Conspiracy theories that must necessarily involve tens or even hundreds of thousands of people are pretty easy to dismiss.

Actually, that's why this 'conspiracy theory' is so much easier to believe. All it would involve is a slightly larger than a handful of university science department deans being pressured by any number of scientists.

Of course, that pretty much would kill the field. If no university will hire a physicist or engineer to teach 'paranormal' science, then there won't be much research into it at the mainstream universities, and that will, for the most part, keep it out of the mainstream journals. So, it doesn't take any large conspiracy of thousands of scientists doing whatever, it just takes a number to be actively engaged to ensure that university deans don't include anything 'paranormal' in the curriculum.

quote:

Consider this also: If these paranormal claims are true, then we are wrong about a lot of the things we think about the natural world. You would think that correcting such a vast set of errors would provide a huge amount of useful knowledge, and enable a very large amount of new technology.

So where is it?


No, it would not necessarily mean anything is wrong, per se, just incomplete. We could have the truth, but not the whole truth. As to where it is, as I said, you could consult Radin's books or Claude Swanson's book. They detail any number of published scientific studies, maybe not in the 'mainstream' journals but certainly in journals that require the scientific method.

I would assume that a scientist such as yourself would have far better access to databases of scientific studies than I have. So, the answer is, the studies are there if you care to look for them.

I'm not 100% sure how accessing 'paranormal' mental abilities would enable the development of new technologies, but maybe I just lack the imagination. Still, that could be another reason why so much of mainstream science, at least in the United States, hasn't looked into this more: there simply isn't much money to be made out of it.

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: Adam T ]


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 April 2008 10:50 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jessica Utts, professor of statistics at University of California, Davis, has this to say about disbelief of psi:

quote:
Our response is simple: The scientific evidence for some forms of psi is extremely persuasive. By the same standards used to establish proof in other areas of science, we can say with high confidence that psi does exist, and we are beginning to learn a little about it, and why people develop this gift.

And she lists a number of reasons why people may develop fear of-phobias due to the existence of psi, which people like the not-so Amazing Randi might find just as interesting.

some people are afraid that psi might be true. For example, fear about psi arises for the following reasons:

quote:
  • It is associated with diabolic forces, magic and witchcraft.
  • It suggests the loss of normal ego boundaries.
  • People might be able to read your mind and know that you secretly (or unconsciously) harbor sexual and aggressive thoughts, or worse.
  • If you talk about it, people might think you're crazy.
  • If you think you experience psi, maybe you are crazy.
  • Your parents provided negative reinforcement for your any demonstrations of psychic ability (or past lives) when you were a child.
  • Thinking about psi leads to a medieval superstitious mentality, which will in turn support a rising tide of dangerous, primitive thinking.
  • With ESP, you might learn things that you do not want to know about yourself or other people -- i.e., accidents that are about to happen, and things you would rather not be responsible for knowing about.
  • Psi might interfere with the normal human process of ego separation and development. Therefore, we have devised subtle strategies for cultural inhibition.
  • If you are telepathic, how will you distinguish other people's thoughts from your own? Perhaps this will lead to mental illness.
  • Many people have a self-destructive streak to their personality. What damage would result if psi were used in the service of this factor? Psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud wrote about this in his book Parapsychology and the Unconscious.
  • If psi exists, how many of my other cherished beliefs will I have to give up?
  • If psi exists, does that mean that a psychic could watch me while I am using bathroom facilities?
  • If psi exists, then perhaps I cannot wall myself off so easily from the pain and suffering in the world.
  • With mind-matter interaction, you might have to take more responsibility for what happens--whether to you, others, or the world around you.

quote:
It should be noted that an increasing number of parapsychologists are moving beyond proof-oriented research (feeling that psi has already been sufficiently proven for anyone willing to actually read and consider the experimental research) to process-oriented, qualitative research. These studies are looking at a variety of factors (such as the kind of target used) to better understand these phenomena.

[ 11 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 12 April 2008 08:27 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
By Adam:
On the James Randi "challenge"
Here is a web page that summarizes the criticisms of how valid the 'challenge' is:

Adam, if the position of the psi believers is that these phenomena only show up in statistical distributions after a large set of trials, then this is actually valid.

The trouble is that the challenge is intended for people like Sylvia Browne and Uri Geller. Those people don't go on TV and claim to do things that are wrong a lot of the time, but but are still better than random chance would expect.

Is spoon-bending real? A single bent spoon would win the challenge. I don't see too many people going on TV and saying they need to try on average 10,000 spoons before they find one that will work.

On TV, Geller nails everything he tries, every time (with the exception of the Late Show appearance, where he didn't have control of the props). He cannot use the excuse that he hasn't taken the challenge because it won't permit enough trials to get a statistically significant dataset.

Is your position that all the people who make money off of this are frauds, but that doesn't totally discredit the idea of paranormal phenomena, then that is a little more defensible. But we are still left with the questions of why this hasn't produced anything useful and why we don't have a set of repeatable experiments to confirm them for all skeptics.

quote:
I'm not 100% sure how accessing 'paranormal' mental abilities would enable the development of new technologies, but maybe I just lack the imagination.

Because understanding the mechanisms by which such a thing works -- given that it contradicts so much currently accepted theory -- would have a profound effect on all of science. There is just no way that this wouldn't have immensely broad applications.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 12 April 2008 10:12 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
Jessica Utts, professor of statistics at University of California, Davis, has this to say about disbelief of psi:
quote:
When we examine the basis of Utts's strong claim for the existence of psi, we find that it relies on a handful of experiments that have been shown to have serious weaknesses after undergoing careful scrutiny, and another handful of experiments that have yet to undergo scrutiny or be successfully replicated. What seems clear is that the scientific community is not going to abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles on the basis of a handful of experiments whose findings have yet to be shown to be replicable and lawful.

Utts does assert that the findings from parapsychological experiments can be replicated with well-controlled experiments given adequate resources. But this is a hope or promise. Before we abandon relativity and quantum mechanics in their current formulations, we will require more than a promissory note. We will want, as is the case in other areas of science, solid evidence that these findings can, indeed, be produced under specified conditions.
Ray Hyman

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 12 April 2008 10:29 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
And she lists a number of reasons why people may develop fear of-phobias due to the existence of psi, which people like the not-so Amazing Randi might find just as interesting.

some people are afraid that psi might be true. For example, fear about psi arises for the following reasons:


My disbelief in PSI is due to the complete lack of evidence. I am not afraid of PSI being true, in fact I would love it to be true as it would open up so many more possibilities. My dislike of PSI, paranormal, most alternative medicines etc is because they are frauds which often pray on the most vulnerable people in our society. When I see the fruads committed by big companies, governments, and religious scammers it makes me angry. Same thing.


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Fidel
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posted 12 April 2008 10:37 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, Utts, a respected statistician, admits that parapsychology is in its infancy as a science. They don't know everything, but neither does Ray Hyman. And he admits that as well.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 12 April 2008 10:50 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:

My disbelief in PSI is due to the complete lack of evidence.


Sorry I can't convince you. You're too tough a cookie to crumble. Here is the web site for you. It's rife with people who use the words "fraud", "charlatan", and similar descriptions to satiate enquiring minds.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 12 April 2008 02:38 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
When we examine the basis of Utts's strong claim for the existence of psi, we find that it relies on a handful of experiments that have been shown to have serious weaknesses after undergoing careful scrutiny, and another handful of experiments that have yet to undergo scrutiny or be successfully replicated. What seems clear is that the scientific community is not going to abandon its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles on the basis of a handful of experiments whose findings have yet to be shown to be replicable and lawful.

Utts does assert that the findings from parapsychological experiments can be replicated with well-controlled experiments given adequate resources. But this is a hope or promise. Before we abandon relativity and quantum mechanics in their current formulations, we will require more than a promissory note. We will want, as is the case in other areas of science, solid evidence that these findings can, indeed, be produced under specified conditions.


This reminds me of this from Yes Minister
Stage Two: Discredit the evidence
A.It leaves important questions unanswered
B.Much of the evidence is inconclusive
C.The figures are open to other interpretations
D.certain findings are contradictory
E.some of the main conclusions have been questioned

Points A to D are bound to be true. In fact, all of the criticisms can be made of a report without even reading it.


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Fidel
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posted 12 April 2008 03:13 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hyman said:

quote:
Utts does assert that the findings from parapsychological experiments can be replicated with well-controlled experiments given adequate resources. But this is a hope or promise.

I gather what Hyman refuses to accept as controlled experimental results are what Utts says are satisfactory for investigations into therapeutic effects of medicinal drugs, for example. If no one can observe an immediate benefit of ingesting aspirin, or that someone doesn't develop lung cancer after smoking a cigarette, then does that mean there is no correlation between smoking and lung cancer, or between long-term use of aspirin and reduced chance of a heart attack after several years of use? Utts said:

quote:
"Not everyone who attempts anomalous cognition will be successful, but I think we can predict the proportion of time success should be achieved."

by the same token, I think Hyman could have worked for tobacco companies in the 1970's-80's and done fairly well.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 12 April 2008 07:36 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
This reminds me of this from Yes Minister
Stage Two: Discredit the evidence

Science has high standards of evidence for very good reasons. If someone is claiming to have experiments that refute centuries' worth of established theory, they'd better have an airtight design. If other scientists poke holes in your methodology, then the onus falls back on you to repeat your experiments with those holes patched.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 12 April 2008 11:52 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Adam, if the position of the psi believers is that these phenomena only show up in statistical distributions after a large set of trials, then this is actually valid.

The trouble is that the challenge is intended for people like Sylvia Browne and Uri Geller. Those people don't go on TV and claim to do things that are wrong a lot of the time, but but are still better than random chance would expect.

Is spoon-bending real? A single bent spoon would win the challenge. I don't see too many people going on TV and saying they need to try on average 10,000 spoons before they find one that will work.

On TV, Geller nails everything he tries, every time (with the exception of the Late Show appearance, where he didn't have control of the props). He cannot use the excuse that he hasn't taken the challenge because it won't permit enough trials to get a statistically significant dataset.


1.I'm glad you at least partially admit that the fact nobody has won the 'challenge' proves nothing.

2.In regards to Uri Geller and spoon bending. I don't know if that proves anything either. As that article I posted to shows, Randi or his team decide who gets to test the 'challenge' and they can refuse a challenge simply by not responding to the people asking to be tested. In the case of Geller, Randi may have said to himself "I've already proven spoon bending is a magic trick so I'm not going to allow any one who claims they can do it to be tested."

quote:
Is your position that all the people who make money off of this are frauds, but that doesn't totally discredit the idea of paranormal phenomena, then that is a little more defensible. But we are still left with the questions of why this hasn't produced anything useful and why we don't have a set of repeatable experiments to confirm them for all skeptics.

As Fidel said (sigh) psi research is still in its infancy, which is not surprising given the difficulty it has getting funding and the stigma that is placed on reputable scientists if they want to even peer review psi research. Again, the absense of evidence is not evidence of absense. The mere fact that psi research has not had huge scientifically verified 'breakthroughs' stems from a myriad of factors other than that 'it doesn't exist'.

You are basically using a circular argument:

A.psi does not exist
B.there is no need to research it
C.That it is not researched is evidence it does not exist


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 01:15 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

And all five major tobacco companies denied for years that their products are linked to cancer. They knew that as ongoing medical studies piled up statistical evidence around the world, their unscientific claims for denying the link grew weaker.

eta: Of course, neither the amazing Randal or Hyman have offered to duplicate any of the scientific study results in a demonstration of their own abilities as private psi dicks.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 13 April 2008 06:30 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Adam wrote:
1.I'm glad you at least partially admit that the fact nobody has won the 'challenge' proves nothing.

Actually I entirely admit that it doesn't actually prove anything with regard to paranormal phenomena in general.

It does effectively discredit self-proclaimed practitioners, though.

quote:
2.In regards to Uri Geller and spoon bending. I don't know if that proves anything either. As that article I posted to shows, Randi or his team decide who gets to test the 'challenge' and they can refuse a challenge simply by not responding to the people asking to be tested. In the case of Geller, Randi may have said to himself "I've already proven spoon bending is a magic trick so I'm not going to allow any one who claims they can do it to be tested."

Think about that a little harder. If Geller proclaimed he was going to take Randi's challenge, that would be big news. If Randi then turned around and refused, especially since he's has called out Geller to take it in the past, it would discredit Randi and the challenge.

So why doesn't Geller stand up and say he will bend a spoon in a controlled trial for Randi's challenge? If Randi refuses, the challenge goes away and it would be a victory for psychics and mentalists everywhere. If Randi accepts, then Geller would prove something to do the world, and he could donate his million to paranormal research.

Or -- just maybe -- Geller can't really bend a spoon with his mind, just by 'really wanting it'.

quote:
As Fidel said (sigh) psi research is still in its infancy, which is not surprising given the difficulty it has getting funding and the stigma that is placed on reputable scientists if they want to even peer review psi research.

Why would it still be in its infancy? These claims have been around for all of recorded history. And, of course, as you have shown in your links, people are researching these things. Wouldn't people have been trying to prove this for centuries? The argument that there is a lack of convincing evidence because nobody has been trying to find it is very weak.


quote:
The mere fact that psi research has not had huge scientifically verified 'breakthroughs' stems from a myriad of factors other than that 'it doesn't exist'.

Such as?


quote:
Fidel wrote:
They knew that as ongoing medical studies piled up statistical evidence around the world, their unscientific claims for denying the link grew weaker.

Are you suggesting there are multi-billion-dollar corporations with a vested interest in upholding accepted theories of physics?

If and when a large collection of peer-reviewed studies is built supporting paranormal claims, I'll believe them.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 10:18 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:

Are you suggesting there are multi-billion-dollar corporations with a vested interest in upholding accepted theories of physics?


That's right, and lots of them were never interested in finding out if there was a link between industrial pollutants and cancer either. I'm not waiting for the results of those studies though. I'll choose not to live near a petrochemical refinery or plastics factory in the mean time.

Like the tobacco companies before them, big energy companies have hired quack PhD's to question global warming science. A similar parade of quacks have been questioning what is proven over time by real scientists around the world. They don't do real science and resort to calling people names, like George "Moonbat" and so on. These are grown men suspected of accepting payoffs but not for their leading edge scientific research.

And I won't smoke cigarettes in spite of the lack of big tobacco funding of cancer research over the years.

How about this? Randi and friends can always offer to become control subjects for an experiment studying psi effects and duplicate the best results themselves. It would throw a large monkey wrench into the psi claims. Of course, I think they understand this by powers of their own intuition.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 13 April 2008 10:43 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
That's right, and lots of them were never interested in finding out if there was a link between industrial pollutants and cancer either. I'm not waiting for the results of those studies though. I'll choose not to live near a petrochemical refinery or plastics factory in the mean time.

And I won't smoke cigarettes in spite of the lack of big tobacco funding of cancer research over the years.


I think I might be starting to understand. So you're saying we have things like, say, the aerospace industry, which has a vested interest in classical mechanics being more or less accurate. So they're covering up the studies that say airplanes don't really fly, or possibly they only fly because the pilots will them to, via telekinesis. They constantly live under the threat that someone will leak out the information that we completely missed the mark on aerodynamics, and the share prices of Boeing and Airbus will plummet.

Am I getting warm?


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 10:56 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:
They constantly live under the threat that someone will leak out the information that we completely missed the mark on aerodynamics, and the share prices of Boeing and Airbus will plummet.

Am I getting warm?


Someone in the American CIA admitted that Pat Price drew an accurate picture depicting the Soviet's latest submarine project somewhere in Northern Russia during the cold war. They were able to verify Price's information by satellite imagery. The military prefers 100% correct information, but I think they have accepted that psi produces anomalous but significant results both here and by specialists living in other countries and possibly working for unfriendly governments. It brought new meaning to the word CIA "spook" for sure.

eta: U.S. feds and other governments tend to take stocks securities and insider information breaches more seriously than our feds have in Ottawa over the years. The NDP has called for a federal securities commission and more definitive laws for several years. Ordinary Canadians have lost a lot of money to crooks and fraudsters since Bre-X.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 13 April 2008 11:06 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:

Someone in the American CIA admitted that Pat Price drew an accurate picture depicting the Soviet's latest submarine project somewhere in Northern Russia during the cold war. They were able to verify Price's information by satellite imagery. The military prefers 100% correct information, but I think they have accepted that psi produces anomalous but significant results both here and by specialists living in other countries and possibly working for unfriendly governments. It brought new meaning to the word CIA "spook" for sure.


Yeah and they also used his information and sketches to pinpoint those giant alien military bases under the ground.....

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 13 April 2008 11:09 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
Someone in the American CIA admitted that Pat Price drew an accurate picture depicting the Soviet's latest submarine project somewhere in Northern Russia during the cold war. They were able to verify Price's information by satellite imagery.

Was it metallic, phallic-shaped, with a little periscope and some antennas sticking out the top?

I'm feeling my psi abilities start to well up.

The problem with retrospective evidence like that is that it's hard to gauge whether the person just got lucky. You'd have to take the total informational content of all the predictions made by the person, and show that it is greater than random guessing would permit.

Assessing the informational content of a prediction is important. Psychics hedge by making their predictions vague, to increase the chance of them being true. Likewise, they like to make predictions on subjects they've read a about, so they start out with more information than the average person hearing it, and can ascribe greater informational content to the prediction than there really is.

A stock trader makes better predictions of share prices than average investors not because they are psychic, but because they know more about share price movement.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 11:20 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:

Yeah and they also used his information and sketches to pinpoint those giant alien military bases under the ground.....

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


Have you ever wondered how the U.S. Dafense Dept and shadow gov could lose track of trillions of dollars? They were never afraid of "Soviet aggression" or any other country's military. They've been a bunch of paranoid megalomaniacs for a long time running.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 11:37 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Proaxiom:
Assessing the informational content of a prediction is important. Psychics hedge by making their predictions vague, to increase the chance of them being true.

Unless it's a bull's eye. Then people take notice, like the feds and scientists alike.

quote:
A stock trader makes better predictions of share prices than average investors not because they are psychic, but because they know more about share price movement.

They use computers to run myriad statistics and mathematics. And most of them use variations of the same math formulas and statistics to bet against one another and drain stock markets of liquidity. So when one goes down, there's a ripple effect. But the new casino economy and productive labour economies of the world are increasingly separated while trillions of dollars are floated around the world. The reality is that there are nearly seven billion people with the majority of them living in grinding poverty.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 13 April 2008 11:47 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:

Have you ever wondered how the U.S. Dafense Dept and shadow gov could lose track of trillions of dollars?


Incompetence, fraud and corruption.

quote:
They were never afraid of "Soviet aggression" or any other country's military. They've been a bunch of paranoid megalomaniacs for a long time running.

Sure they were paranoid - that is why they were willing to spend boat loads of money chasing silly theories and giving lunatic frauds the benefit of the doubt. I am not paranoid so I will await evidence.

That doesn't mean that I don't support these theories being testing. I do. (Using Richard Dawkins scale of 1 to 7 on belief vs atheism for psi/remote viewing I would give myself a 6 or 6.5) However, I don't blame real scientists for not wanted to waste their valuable time on it and I hold no illusions that test after test showing that these things don't work and that people like Geller are fraud artists will change anyone's mind. It won't, just as the branch of the US government (forget it name at the moment) that spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year putting alternative medicines through proper scientific tests to see if any of them work (and so far a dozen years have found nothing to back up the claims of most of the field) is not going to change anyone's mind. Each year more money is spent on homeopathy even though each year more evidence shows that it doesn't have any effect.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 12:53 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
Each year more money is spent on homeopathy even though each year more evidence shows that it doesn't have any effect.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


A great deal of big pharma's profits surprisingly enough is not reinvested in basic R&D of new drugs. A large percentage of our consumer contributions for their products goes into marketing. And a significant percentage of the money that is reinvested in research goes into clinical trials to prove secondary benefits for old drugs developed years ago. They can charge people more for the same snake oil that way.

There are scientists who have admitted big pharma sinks a lot of money wastefully into non-leading edge research and leaving highest risk research to publicly-funded agencies and academic institutions. They've been feeding at the public troff for a long time. Big pharma operates on the basis that if it's high risk R&D, better to let the taxpayers shoulder the risk until such time as the public pear tree produces fruit. At some point, the lowest hanging fruit is plucked by private enterprise for a lick and a promise to provide fruit salad at an affordable cost to everyone. And then a parasitic U.S. corporate health care insurance brigade latches on for the ride.

So until taxpayer-funded research produces a psi equivalent of AZT or Taxol, private enterpriZe won't be too interested in coughing up money for basic research into psi phenomenon.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 13 April 2008 01:24 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I will be honest I have no idea what that post has to do with anything I posted. I have never said that big pharma was an ideal industry. I have on this site recommended books discussing that dark side of that industry. However, unlike most people I know who are critical of big pharma and therefore look towards alternative medicine as a savior, I have looked into both industries critically and quite frankly alternative medicine disgusts me more - which is pretty tough to do.

quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
So until taxpayer-funded research produces a psi equivalent of AZT or Taxol, private enterprise won't be too interested in coughing up money for basic research into psi phenomenon.

Why would private enterprise invest money in something like psi? Why should I waste my own money on fortune tellers or homeopathy? Should they also invest money in developing a plane with no wings and downward facing seats with no seatbelts attached to the underside of the "plane"?


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 02:21 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
I will be honest I have no idea what that post has to do with anything I posted.

Likewise

quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
Why would private enterprise invest money in something like psi?

For the same reason Bristol Meyers didn't have to. They just waited on the sidelines for taxpayer funded research to produce the best selling cancer drug in medical history.

American capitalism is sometimes credited with turning high risk investment into profit-wielding consumer windfalls. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says blockbuster drugs haven't been one of those benefits. Consumers have been paying twice for the same drug discoveries handed off to private enterprise years ago. These multinational corporations are even referred to sometimes as "the market."

For all their multi-billion dollar profiteering over several decades, big pharma hasn't produced anything as life-saving as Salk-Sabine's polio vaccines or Banting and Best's insulin, both made on shoe-string bugdets several decades ago. There is an invisible and driving force behind aspects of capitalism, and sometimes it's not a penchant for risk-taking. Psi research would be classified as "high risk" R&D along with other leading edge medical research being undertaken by federal agencies and academic instiutions around the world today. Oh yes, and sometimes private enterprise does have a hand but often not both at the same time.

Big pharma doesn't invest in a lot of things, preferring instead to payout blue chip dividends for profits made on decades-old discoveries. They don't mind gouging senior citizens for pain medications either. Socialize the risk and privatize profits. That's been the general formula driving capitalism for a long time.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 13 April 2008 03:55 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:

For the same reason Bristol Meyers didn't have to. They just waited on the sidelines for taxpayer funded research to produce the best selling cancer drug in medical history.


There is a big difference between companies investing in cancer drug research (they should) and expecting them to invest in ridiculousness like PSI.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 13 April 2008 03:56 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Think about that a little harder. If Geller proclaimed he was going to take Randi's challenge, that would be big news. If Randi then turned around and refused, especially since he's has called out Geller to take it in the past, it would discredit Randi and the challenge.

So why doesn't Geller stand up and say he will bend a spoon in a controlled trial for Randi's challenge? If Randi refuses, the challenge goes away and it would be a victory for psychics and mentalists everywhere. If Randi accepts, then Geller would prove something to do the world, and he could donate his million to paranormal research.

Or -- just maybe -- Geller can't really bend a spoon with his mind, just by 'really wanting it'.


In this case, you are dealing with just one person - Uri Geller and I have no idea what is in his mind, so I obviously can't answer why he won't take the challenge. It doesn't prove anything one way or the other and it doesn't explain why any of the myriad of other people who claim to be able to bend spoons have not taken the challenge either.


quote:

Why would it still be in its infancy? These claims have been around for all of recorded history. And, of course, as you have shown in your links, people are researching these things. Wouldn't people have been trying to prove this for centuries?

The 'centuries' argument is weak and I'm sure you know that. After all, Sir Isaac Newton spent a good deal of his time trying to prove alchemy. As you well know, it's ony been the last 200-300 years that the scientific method has been established and if I recall correctly the invention/discovery of probability and statistics methods to determine whether something is mere chance or not has been around even less.. As to since then, obviously the technologies to study most of these things, beyond doing simple card tests, has existed for an even shorter period of time. So, most of this field has only been able to function in the way needed to do serious testing for at most 75 or so years. Hardly 'centuries'.

I don't claim to be an expert in psychological research so this comparision may not be correct, but psi research is often also called parapsychology and I'm not sure that the field hasn't advanced almost as far as psychology/neurology in most areas. After all, in parapsychology there are names for for the claimed mental abilities but no real understanding of how these things work. Similarily in psychology/neurology, there are names for things like autism, but no real understanding of what causes it, what parts of the brain it effects, and so on.

quote:

The mere fact that psi research has not had huge scientifically verified 'breakthroughs' stems from a myriad of factors other than that 'it doesn't exist'.

Such as?


I've told you a bunch of factors already.
1.Psi research in shut out of universities, at least in America, which limits the research.

2.Scientists who do research into it are looked down upon which limits the ability to get into mainstream journals, peer review and so on.

3.The funding outside of universities is extremely limited. Unlike 'global warming deniers' psi researchers are unlikely to get corporate funding, and unlike 'creation scientists' they don't get religious funding. Before you argue that corporations should be all over psi if it really exists, I would point out that corporations spend very little on research and development on what is basically 'blue sky' science.

Given all that, I think there has actually been an amazing amount of psi research and they have done a thorough job in the first step of any science, which is to document the observations.

As you yourself quoted, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'. Psi research spent many years beyond what any other science would have done to merely document the basic evidence in order to present the extraordinary evidence. Again, before you say, "I'm not familiar with it" it's because you haven't looked!

Many studies have shown that psi abilities exist beyond mere chance. As Fidel (sigh) stated in an earlier post, psi research is only now starting to move on to the point of doing research to explain how these things might occur.

I would also point out that your basic argument is pretty anti science.

You are arguing 'these observations can't be correct because they dispute the current theories'.

Of course, if the observations are correct, then the scientific method argues that it's the theories that need to change, not the observations.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 04:23 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:

There is a big difference between companies investing in cancer drug research (they should) and expecting them to invest in ridiculousness like PSI.


Okay but I did answer your previous question, slippery.

And as per usual with research into the unknown, they are taxpayer funded efforts leading the way in psi. And if their is a psi equivalent of Taxol discovered, or new branch of medicine created, we can bet low-risk capitalists will be there to stand on the shoulders of giants before them and claim victory as theirs.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 April 2008 04:29 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
I would also point out that your basic argument is pretty anti science.

You are arguing 'these observations can't be correct because they dispute the current theories'.

Of course, if the observations are correct, then the scientific method argues that it's the theories that need to change, not the observations.


Actually, if someone were to observe kosher pigs flying backwards with turquoise wings, it would be argued that the observations were wrong, rather than the theory of animal biology.

You clearly have not read the link I posted above written by Sean Carroll, where he comprehensively refutes all your points. The reason for that is that you are likely someone who just wants to believe.

Psi is no different than young earth creationism or kosher pigs flying backwards.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 04:45 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's pretty insulting, 500Apples. I think some people here share something in common with the crackpots disputing global warming science. More corporate money has been invested in that mumbo-jumbo than for basic research into psi.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 13 April 2008 04:51 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You clearly have not read the link I posted above written by Sean Carroll, where he comprehensively refutes all your points. The reason for that is that you are likely someone who just wants to believe.

Sean Carroll offers his opinion like any other scientist. The idea that he is the final word on this subject is ridiculous. It would be impossible for him to see all the research.

Still, if you 'want to believe' that he has refuted thousands of studies that show evidence of psi that is up to you.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 April 2008 04:54 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
That's pretty insulting, 500Apples. I think some people here share something in common with the crackpots disputing global warming science. More corporate money has been invested in that mumbo-jumbo than for basic research into psi.

Doesn't it tell you something that nobody is willing to invest big bucks in psi or into Kosher pigs flying backwards? That's because there's no chance of any benefit.

To quote Sean Carroll:

quote:
Admittedly, however, it is true that anything is possible, since science never proves anything. It’s certainly possible that the next asteroid that comes along will obey an inverse-cube law of gravity rather than an inverse-square one; we never know for sure, we can only speak in probabilities and likelihoods. Given the above, I would put the probability that some sort of parapsychological phenomenon will turn out to be real at something (substantially) less than a billion to one. We can compare this to the well-established success of particle physics and quantum field theory. The total budget for high-energy physics worldwide is probably a few billion dollars per year. So I would be very happy to support research into parapsychology at the level of a few dollars per year. Heck, I’d even be willing to go as high as twenty dollars per year, just to be safe.

http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/02/18/telekinesis-and-quantum-field-theory/

A few years ago, I remember hearing it that Lyle Odelein was considering leaving the Canadians because JoJo Savard offered him a job... if he had psychic powers how come he wasn't a great hockey player?


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 13 April 2008 05:00 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Doesn't it tell you something that nobody is willing to invest big bucks in psi or into Kosher pigs flying backwards? That's because there's no chance of any benefit.

Actually it just proves, as I said earlier, that corporations do very little 'blue sky' research.

To try and say it proves something otherwise, when it is well known what the real reason is, is completely dishonest.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 April 2008 05:01 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:
thousands of studies that show evidence of psi that is up to you.

There are even more studies contradicting global warming, pieces promoting free market panacea, papers promoting young earth creationism... One doesn't need to read all their work to refute their views. There's really not that much research to review.

In case anybody doesn't understand my analogy to kosher pigs flying backwards... the point is that such creatures are impossible. They would violate all the rules of biology, of evolution and of mechanics for that matter. These are well-established rules tested millions of times. If these rules were wrong we would have known by now, rather than spontaneously discovering an omnibus exception.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 13 April 2008 05:04 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In case anybody doesn't understand my analogy to kosher pigs flying backwards... the point is that such creatures are impossible. They would violate all the rules of biology, of evolution and of mechanics for that matter. These are well-established rules tested millions of times. If these rules were wrong we would have known by now, rather than spontaneously discovering an omnibus exception.

You are clearly taking the view of 'if the evidence contradicts the theory, the evidence must be wrong' and that is basically the entire basis of Sean Carroll's argument. You agree with his argument, so naturally what he says is conclusive proof to you.

I argue otherwise so naturally his argument doesn't carry much water with me.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 April 2008 05:12 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:

Actually it just proves, as I said earlier, that corporations do very little 'blue sky' research.

To try and say it proves something otherwise, when it is well known what the real reason is, is completely dishonest.


Corporations have done and do a lot of blue sky research. There have been six nobel prizes awarded for work at Bell Labs Wikipedia, Bell Labs. They also donate a lot to Universities. Wall Street quant Jim Simons recently gave US$ 60 million to Stony Brook for research into mathematical physics. Microsoft has just set up a basic research lab called Microsoft Research New England. The best ground based telescopes in the world currently operation, the Keck telescopes, were built thanks to a donation from the Keck family. A few years ago hundreds of millions were given to University of Waterloo to start a center in theoretical physics where among other things, research is done into loop quantum gravity, it's called The Perimeter Institute. Meanwhile, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen recently helped build an array of radio telescopes to help search for extra terrestrial life.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 13 April 2008 05:13 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adam T:

You are clearly taking the view of 'if the evidence contradicts the theory, the evidence must be wrong' and that is basically the entire basis of Sean Carroll's argument. You agree with his argument, so naturally what he says is conclusive proof to you.

I argue otherwise so naturally his argument doesn't carry much water with me.


If your evidence contradicts all previous evidence, then it's more likely your experiment is wrong than that of everyone else in history.

Would you believe someone who told you they saw a kosher pig flying backwards? I rest my case.

All real physical scientists work with the framework of bayesian statistics. It has occam's razor as a result. Among other things, spectacular claims require more evidence than uninteresting claims.

[ 13 April 2008: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Adam T
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posted 13 April 2008 05:23 PM      Profile for Adam T     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If your evidence contradicts all previous evidence, then it's more likely your experiment is wrong than that of everyone else in history.

Would you believe someone who told you they saw a kosher pig flying backwards? I rest my case.


If it were just one experiment, I'd agree. But it isn't. Similarily, if hundreds of people independently say they saw kosher pigs flying backwards and there was no evidence of anything to suggest their claims were invalid (they were all drunk, there was a kosher pig blimp flying in the area...) I'd want to investigate.


From: Richmond B.C | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 05:36 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
... if he had psychic powers how come he wasn't a great hockey player?

I think everyone has a role and purpose, especially with a great team game like hockey. One of Lyle's purposes was to help the Canadiens win la coupe stanley in 1993.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 13 April 2008 05:47 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:

Corporations have done and do a lot of blue sky research. There have been six nobel prizes awarded for work at Bell Labs...


The money was likely a write off for those companies. The feds could have retrieved it through taxation and invested it themselves. Machiavelli lives on with good doobie capitalists.

High risk science requires decades worth of ongoing research and compiling reams of data before solid conclusions can be made as will likely be the case with psi effects.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 April 2008 11:53 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Richard Dawkins comes to call

by Rupert Sheldrake

quote:
Richard Dawkins is a man with a mission – the eradication of religion and superstition, and their total replacement with science and reason. Channel 4 TV has repeatedly provided him with a pulpit. His two-part polemic in August 2007, called Enemies of Reason, was a sequel to his 2006 diatribe against religion, The Root of All Evil? . . .

He then said that in a romantic spirit he himself would like to believe in telepathy, but there just wasn’t any evidence for it. He dismissed all research on the subject out of hand. He compared the lack of acceptance of telepathy by scientists such as himself with the way in which the echo-location system had been discovered in bats, followed by its rapid acceptance within the scientific community in the 1940s. In fact, as I later discovered, Lazzaro Spallanzani had shown in 1793 that bats rely on hearing to find their way around, but sceptical opponents dismissed his experiments as flawed, and helped set back research for well over a century.

However, Richard recognized that telepathy posed a more radical challenge than echo-location. He said that if it really occurred, it would “turn the laws of physics upside down,” and added, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”


And what transpired next in the conversation amounted to Dawkins and his crew ridin' outa Dodge on their polemic horses.

eta: I'm disappointed by prominent science representatives like Dawkins. Dawkins and quacks like Randi remind me of another controversial subject simply labelled as the "unknown" when government officials and private commentators volunteer their opinions on unidentified flying objects. They, too, say there is no proof and resort to what amounts to verbal and mental abuse as far as eye witnesses are concerned. But what about the recounting of sightings by tens of thousands of otherwise credible people? Military and high-ranking government officials have seen things that boggle the human mind. What about the physical evidence of photos dating back to turn of the century, a time when there was no PhotoShop or internet to share faked photos at near speed of light transmissions? And what about the physical radar evidence? It's a denial machine at work as far as many, many people including a growing number of scientists are concerned.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 14 April 2008 12:25 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good ol' Rupert Sheldrake, the leading exponent of mental telepathy.

Betcha can't guess what I think about him.

Come on now, close your eyes and concentrate.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 April 2008 12:35 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And I'll bet no-talent bums like Randi can't read this person's thoughts on the matter either. And that's because people like Randi are mental midgets.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
The Wizard of Socialism
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posted 14 April 2008 12:40 PM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I always thought Randi looked like he could use a shave, a hot meal and couple of bucks for smokes.
From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 14 April 2008 02:27 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fidel:
eta: I'm disappointed by prominent science representatives like Dawkins. Dawkins and quacks like Randi remind me of another controversial subject simply labelled as the "unknown" when government officials and private commentators volunteer their opinions on unidentified flying objects. They, too, say there is no proof and resort to what amounts to verbal and mental abuse as far as eye witnesses are concerned. But what about the recounting of sightings by tens of thousands of otherwise credible people? Military and high-ranking government officials have seen things that boggle the human mind. What about the physical evidence of photos dating back to turn of the century, a time when there was no PhotoShop or internet to share faked photos at near speed of light transmissions? And what about the physical radar evidence? It's a denial machine at work as far as many, many people including a growing number of scientists are concerned.

Re: UFOs

One should always show preference for the simplest explanation.

It doesn't take much to believe all these people are either lying or hallucinating. I've experienced hallucinations before and they're very vivid, I can see why someone would believe them. If these events were real rather than hallucinations, you would expect a few things. You would expect them to be uniform across space-time, and they are not. Hallucinations are more likely to be influenced by culture than are actual sightings. Throughout human history, there have been way more sightings of ghosts, demons, talking animals, etc than aliens, because that was what people believed in. All of a sudden in the early twentieth century when popular culture came up with aliens and people became more secular, there were more sightings of aliens (up from virtually zero) and fewer sightings of ghosts and demons have gone way down. The simplest explanation is culture+hallucinations.

I've actually had hallucinations of demons. I don't think some red slimy dude was in my room with a pitchfork. I think the brainwashing I got for fourteen years at a religious school is still a significant part of me deep down, and deep down is what comes out when one is half-asleep, half-awake. Well anyway, I think that explanation is a lot more sound than the notion I'm sort of prophet of darkness, with a supernatural connection to the netherworld.

It really takes a lot to believe that aliens only decided to visit Earth once science fiction movies started becoming popular. Is that the intergalactic welcome signal? The Day The Earth Stool Still? And how did the aliens get rid of the ghosts? Why is it some people can see them, but nobody else can, why are they special? Why would they invest so heavily in all this technology once they notice the signal from science fiction movies, to come here and abduct the stupid ones? Why are they abducting more people in western countries - is it because more of them have watched science fiction?

The principal of most likely assumption is a good one on a priori grounds, though it can be derived from Bayesian Statistics. If someone were to argue that they did an experiment and recorded that Adam T. can jog at 7.8267 times the speed of light in vacuum... would you believe the claim? Or would you think the experimenter was incompetent? For Adam T. to do such things, every single rule of biology, of materials science, of quantum mechanics, of relativity, of electromagnetism... and all the combined weights of the millions of experiments professionally done on each of those, with the wisdom and experience of their principal investigators. Hard to believe.... All people of sound mind would simply believe the experimenter was either incompetent or lying.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. An extraordinary claim (such as a pink teacup orbiting around the sun at a Jupiter orbit) should be rejected as a default. If, despite thousands of years of investigation and hundreds of experiments, no convincing evidence can be found, then it should be aggressively rejected as a matter of principle, to facilitate progress.

ETA: It's worth adding that visiting aliens are simply unlikely, they would not violate the laws of physics, in fact many people such as myself expect a universe to be teeming with life.

Psi on the other hand would be a refutation of all the physical results in the entire body of scientific knowledge.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 14 April 2008 02:34 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm fairly used to the idea that people reject science being the only useful tool for determining what is true and what is false in the natural world.

It seems most people in this world have been brought up to think some form of religion, spirituality, or mysticism can also be useful, and they simply don't understand how that thinking is not consistent with reason.

When I hear someone professing to understand science, and then promote ideas that are completely at odds with it, I wonder if it is dishonesty or simple ignorance.

If Uri Geller could really bend a spoon with his thoughts it would be trivial of him to silence his skeptics (i.e. almost the entire scientific community). All he'd have to do is visit the campus of any prominent university, walk into a reputable physicist's office, and say: "Let's go to a nearby cafeteria and I'll show you how I can bend a spoon. Bring a video camera if you want. You can pick the spoon."

The physicist might insist on it being repeated a few times, observing it from different angles for any evidence of trickery. But by the end of the day our understanding of the universe would be in a shambles, and we'd have to start the task of rebuilding it.

But that has never happened.

This is because Uri Geller is a fraud. There is no other reasonable explanation, given the evidence at hand.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: Proaxiom ]


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
martin dufresne
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posted 14 April 2008 03:54 PM      Profile for martin dufresne   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No scientific method can determine what is true. Scientifically, one can only determine what is falsifiable but hasn't been falsified... yet.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]


From: "Words Matter" (Mackinnon) | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
martin dufresne
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posted 14 April 2008 04:02 PM      Profile for martin dufresne   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
500 apples: ...I think that explanation is a lot more sound than the notion I'm sort of prophet of darkness, with a supernatural connection to the netherworld.
I am not discounting that hypothesis entirely...
I can unbend a penis with my thoughts, but I guess that doesn't count. (More fun than spoons, though.)

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]


From: "Words Matter" (Mackinnon) | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 14 April 2008 04:11 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by martin dufresne:
I am not discounting that hypothesis entirely...
I can unbend a penis with my thoughts, but I guess that doesn't count. (More fun than spoons, though.)


lol and lol.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 April 2008 04:32 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:

Re: UFOs

One should always show preference for the simplest explanation.

It doesn't take much to believe all these people are either lying or hallucinating. . .
ETA: It's worth adding that visiting aliens are simply unlikely, they would not violate the laws of physics, in fact many people such as myself expect a universe to be teeming with life.


But some of these sightings, foo fighters, "disks", cigars, saucers through to some pretty spectacular sightings over cities around the world have not only been eyeballed by dozens and sometimes thousands of people at a time - civilian airport authorities have corroborated the same sightings with radar and breaking speed records and other aeronautical firsts. Some very credible people know the diff between radar signatures of a 767 and all kinds of planes they watch every day. The ball lightening and "swamp gas" idiocy doesn't passify more than a few amateur photogs, plane spotters, airline and airforce pilots, bird watchers, and radar specialists alike. And some number of the witnesses have no previous history of mental or visual impairments, because the insurance industry and professional liscencing agencies and civilian air traffic controller regulators discriminate on visual and mental abilities before certifying anybody to pilot and direct multi-million dollar passenger jets taxiing real people on national and international flights 24-7 around the world.


Boyd Bushman on antigravity youtube

It's not evidence of ET, but it does makes me wonder about the future of air travel.

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 14 April 2008 05:15 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Related to what Apples wrote, the trouble with the UFO stuff is that there is a vast leap from "Look, there's something unusual in they sky" to "It must be alien visitors from another world!"

We don't really know if we're alone or not. We don't know if any other life is capable of ever visiting us. But I'll remain skeptical until I see real evidence.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
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posted 14 April 2008 05:19 PM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by martin dufresne:
No scientific method can determine what is true. Scientifically, one can only determine what is falsifiable but hasn't been falsified... yet.

Quite true. Like haven't falsified anthropogenic climate change, yet?

If you try and try to falsify something, and every attempt fails, as experimental evidence lines up behind the falsifiable claim, it becomes increasingly probable that it is, in fact, true.

At some point the chance of being wrong becomes inconsequential, and people start taking the claim as a proven fact.


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 April 2008 05:27 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, a healthy dose of skepticism is necessary always. But sometimes questions beg answering. If there is something bigger than our stoogeocrats and their masters in Warshington, then why would self-important megalomaniacs want it to go away? Labelled quacks and kooks for a long time, clairvoyants, genuine psychics and fraudsters alike have made similar statements that we must all develop a healthy respect the planet we all share, and stop polluting! Our very presence here is proof life exists in outer space, but for how much longer do we intend on short-changing each other on the rent? Marxists have described how capitalism provides a false accounting of the real economy wrt the environment and social costs. When will we decide, collectively, to grow up and start acting like the intelligent beings we were designed to be?

[ 14 April 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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